The Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game Five at Dodger Stadium to wrap up the victory in a record-shattering season for the team. The Red Sox lost just once away from Fenway Park, and it took the Dodgers a record-setting 18 innings in Friday's Game 3 to prevent being swept.
But Pearce wasn't the only unexpected hero for Boston in the postseason.
He was 8 for 28 (.286 batting average) with three home runs and nine RBIs in the four-game NL Division Series against Atlanta and the first three games of the NL Championship Series against Milwaukee. He had been 0-9 in 11 postseason starts before defeating Astros ace Justin Verlander in the clinching Game 5 of the AL Championship Series. And of course, no one could have foreseen Jackie Bradley Jr. winning the ALCS MVP.
Hill held the Boston Red Sox in check for most of Saturday's game and took a 4-0 lead into the seventh.
After celebrating with his players Sunday night, which included getting dunked in a giant cooler by first baseman Mitch Moreland, Cora made sure to say how grateful he was of the Boston brass for giving a 42-year-old with just one year of experience one of the most prestigious managerial jobs in all of baseball.
Progress came incrementally for Price, who went 42/3 innings -one out shy of qualifying for a win - in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros. He also won Game 2, and he pitched out of the bullpen in the marathon Game 3. The first was a two-run shot in the top of the first inning. Thousands of Boston fans remained on the first-base side of the stadium long after the final out, chanting "Let's go Red Sox!" and singing "Sweet Caroline". He even tied Yoán Moncada for the team lead in walks (10), adding an element in his offensive repertoire which hadn't really been present to that point.
Price's tale was told thoroughly the past few Octobers: He couldn't pitch in the playoffs, they said. That's a tribute not just to the pitchers, but the front office as well.
And one who, after 10 years of trying, will soon will have a World Series ring. The other team to win more than Boston is the Seattle Mariners, who won 120 games before losing in the 2001 American League Championship Series. Dave Roberts, the Dodgers' manager, has been maligned for his deployment of his bullpen, but perhaps it appeared as if he struggled to pull the right strings because there were no strings to pull. Now the Dodgers' task is to figure out why their very good team has now twice in a row not been quite good enough. "It's noise and I really haven't paid too much attention to it".
Boston owner John Henry, who also owns Liverpool, declared the side the best in the franchise history, not that it softened the blow for the Dodgers of losing to one of the great sides. No reason to be ashamed there.